Connect with us

Newcastle United

Come in number 9 – Andy Carroll given chance for legendary status

Feb. 05, 2010 - United Kingdom - Football - Newcastle United v Cardiff City Coca-Cola Football League Championship - St James Park - 5/2/10..Newcastle's Andy Carroll celebrates scoring their third goal.

Today, the famous no.9 shirt of Newcastle United was finally unleashed back on to the unsuspecting world after a season in the wilderness. Andy Carroll has been charged with the responsibility of leading Newcastle’s charge back into the Premier League with the number every young Geordie dreams about wearing on the back of the black and white shirt.

Hughie Gallacher, Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald, Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and, er, Obafemi Martins are just some of the names which are linked to this legendary shirt. A daunting prospect for a young lad who is yet to prove himself beyond the realms of the Championship, certainly, but an opportunity to write himself into Geordie folklore should he succeed.

Perhaps the relative lack of success of his most recent predecessor will aid him as expectations aren’t quite as high as they could have been. To be fair to Martins, he carried the task of replacing the irreplacable and should probably never have been handed the number nine so recently after Shearer retired on the back of breaking club records. He should have earned it, like Carroll in some sense has been required.

Moreover, it would be harsh to write off the Nigerian as a failure, for he fared better than plenty of other strikers with bigger reputations (step forward Messrs. Kluivert, Viduka, Owen etc.). And he produced some truly magical moments in his time here, such as THAT strike against Tottenham away with the hardest shot i have ever witnessed. But he was blighted by injuries, inconsistency and a shockingly bad touch for a player to have come from Inter Milan, and he was ultimately part of the side that took NUFC down.

Now, it has been trusted to someone closer to home. Martins’ Nigerian descent meant that people were often quick to claim that he didn’t know what it meant to wear the shirt, but Hughton has avoided this risk by choosing a youngster Newcastle born and bred.

Carroll has long been admired amongst the Toon faithful, with many citing his aerial capabilities as sharing a similar pedigree to Duncan Feruson. He scored a number of goals with his head last season, and if Routledge, Gutierrez, Guthrie and whoever else can continue to provide the ammunition then the big striker is bound to add to his tally. Of course, Premier League defenders are a whole different ball game to the opposition he came across last season and there is a reason there are fewer headed goals at this level.

With this in mind, Carroll is going to have to use the sledgehammer of a left foot he unmistakably possesses in his armour to greater effect this time round in order to get anywhere near the 20-goal mark he is no doubt capable of reaching. His height drew obvious comparisons with Wor Shola when he first came through the ranks, but Carroll is a better player both on the deck and in the air. Where your jaw drops at the miraculous sight of Ameobi making a goal line clearance, it is not uncommon to see his strike partner in his own box getting amongst it and throwing his body on the line. Those are the leadership qualities you want off a number nine.

Of course, Carroll has a lot to learn, both on and off the pitch, and his new-found responsibility carries with it behavioural expectations. The last thing that Hughton, the fans and the club needs is the bearer of their most famous shirt getting into fights with fellow players or nightclubbers and bringing back the headlines with have made Newcastle United a laughing stock for the past decade. He still awaits a further court hearing, but once this out of the way with hopefully positive results, Carroll has a new start as a person and must take it with both hands.

But it is on the football field where legends are born, and Andrew Carroll will never have a greater opportunity to become a hero for his hometown club. He has just 184 goals to go in order to reach probably the most famous of the occupants of the number nine shirts, and he can start by knocking a few in this season to keep the club in the division. Good luck.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Newcastle United